A coronavirus is a group of viruses that has a lot of viruses under it. If you see these viruses under a microscope, you will find spikes like projects on its surface as found on a crown. That is why they are named as Corona – one that looks like a crown. This is an outbreak of disease that started in Wuhan, one of the central Chinese cities. The 2019 coronavirus is getting a lot of attention now because it is a new kind of virus we haven’t seen among humans before.
In humans, they tend to spread through airborne droplets of fluid produced by infected individuals. Scientists and researchers have found a new virus by the name of SARS-CoV-2 ( severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) and it is believed to be the reason behind the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) in China.
Investigations have also found that the coronavirus is a newly emerging zoonotic disease (passed on from animals to humans). We have seen some people that have died from this disease, and we know that there are already thousands of cases and the numbers are increasing on a daily basis. So, people are concerned, because they don’t know exactly how severe the disease will be or how far it will spread.
Coronavirus Symptoms: What Are They and Should I Call the Doctor?
The majority of COVID-19 cases are mild. Some even have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they could show up to 14 days after exposure. They’re most likely to be similar to a regular cold, the flu, or seasonal allergies, like a fever, headache, fatigue, sore throat, and runny nose. Studies show that people with mild or no symptoms could be spreading COVID-19.
Coughing and shortness of breath are common, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You are more likely to experience severe forms of these symptoms if your age is 65 and older.
Some cases have gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea. In more extreme cases and for people with underlying health conditions, like heart disease or diabetes, you can develop pneumonia, frequent or high fever, persistent cough, and signs of respiratory distress, like shortness of breath and chest pain.
A small percentage of cases progress to acute respiratory distress, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and pressure. Confusion, extreme fatigue, persistent pain or other severe symptoms require immediate medical attention. The result could mean shock, organ dysfunction, or heart failure.
If you have severe symptoms, it’s time to get in touch with a healthcare provider. But with milder symptoms, it’s a good idea to call your primary care doctor first, instead of rushing to the emergency room.
How Coronavirus Spreads Person to Person
The process that spreads the coronavirus starts in the lungs and the throat. So they sort of fool the cell and then your cell mistake it as something useful. And then they’ll hijack the cell for spreading the virus. Mr. Hong Zhou, a microbiologist at UCLA, says the coronavirus enters a cell and multiplies, sometimes millions of times. All of those copies then spill out into patients’ airways, and some of those copies end up in tiny droplets of fluid. Then, when the patient coughs or sneezes, those droplets spray out onto tabletops and railings, bus seats, food, other people, you name it. And each droplet can carry a heavy load.
So you can do the calculation. You can see that it could easily fit thousands of virus particles in each droplet. Alas, you only need one to get infected.
One really big way to break the chain of transmission is hand washing. Let’s say you’ve been out and about all day and you haven’t been really careful about where your hands have been. You get home, you put your stuff away, you pet the dog, and you relax. But you know what else you do a lot? You pet the dog touch your face. You seem to infect yourselves either through your mouth, through your eyes, your nose.
So that’s why it’s so important you don’t touch your face. So you should try touching your face less, but washing your hands makes those slip-ups less dangerous.
You’ve heard the recommendation before, 20 seconds of thorough scrubbing with soap, because soap, as it turns out, is a pretty magical substance. It contains detergent molecules that surround and pull apart fats or lipids. Lipids are partly what coronavirus membranes are made of. So when detergent molecules meet a virus they force its membrane open, tearing it apart and rendering it inactive.
Experts also recommend cleaning frequently used surfaces, or at least studies show that coronavirus can live on surfaces for days.
People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness From Covid 19
Patients at risk for coronavirus can be any one of us therefore, we all need to be cautious in how we live day to day taking these precautions. People that aged 65 and over, with medical conditions like heart disease, chronic lung disease, asthma, diabetes, people undergoing cancer treatment and people with compromised or weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to this pandemic.
Types of Coronaviruses and Their Hosts
Coronaviruses form a very large family of viruses that principally infect animals. They can however occasionally infect humans causing symptoms similar to the common cold and mild flu, they could sometimes result in respiratory complications in people vulnerable to infection. Coronavirus infections are often not diagnosed as they’re benign and tend to heal spontaneously.
The viruses jump from humans to humans through the air via an infected individual secretion whirl to contact with contaminated objects, especially in the winter.
Two coronaviruses have led to serious epidemics in humans causing death – SARS a worldwide epidemic that lasted between November 2002 and July 2003 and MERS-CoV ( Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus identified for the first time in the Middle East in 2012.
In 2019, a new deadly coronavirus emerged in China called COVID-19. The main symptoms are fever coughing and breathing difficulties as well as an upset stomach.
In the case of SARS, masked palm civet sold and eaten by humans in China and in the case of MERS (a zoonotic virus) the dromedary. At present, there is no specific medicine or vaccine for these viruses.
As per Chinese scientists, preliminary research shows the new coronavirus has mutated. Their new study has found that the virus evolved in two major types – one strain is called ‘L Type’ (more aggressive) and ‘S Type’ (less prevalent strain and commonly found type).
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19 : Symptoms & Diagnosis)
According to Dr. William Schaffner (a professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville) said that they are focusing more on fever and a prominent lower respiratory tract symptom.
Let us discuss some other symptoms you should need to know.
As per doctors, fever is one of the key symptoms. Don’t panic until the temperate has reached 37.7 degrees Celsius (both for kids and adults).
According to Dr. John Williams (chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh) amid COVID-19 pandemic, people are still ignorant of the symptoms and they start to panic even if they have a mild fever. He added that the average temperature is 37 degrees Celsius, so if the temperature is 99.0 or 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit then you don’t have a fever and you can relax.
He stressed that it is better to take the temperature in the early evening rather than in the morning.
Dr. Schaffner said that cough is also one of the key symptoms of Coronavirus. But, he added that not just any cough, typically you should feel dry cough in your chest.
Indeed the cough is bothersome. The source of the cough is breastbone or sternum and whenever you cough you could feel the inflammation of your bronchial tubes.
- Difficulty Breathing
Having difficulty breathing is one of the key manifestations of COVID-19. You may feel shortness of breath without a cough. According to Dr. Patrice Harris (American Medical Association President), if you feel the tightness of your chest and you are not able to get a good breath, you have to see your physician immediately.
Besides shortness of breath, here is the list of other emergency warning signs for coronavirus –
- Bluish lips or face.
- Sudden mental confusion.
- Inability to rouse.
- Unusual symptoms
Experts at The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery are of the view that lack of sense of smell and dysgeusia or lack of taste can be indications of possible infections of the pandemic.
The experts say that Anosmia has been found in all the positive coronavirus patients. It has been known that a sudden loss of smell is mainly related to respiratory infections caused by various other types of coronaviruses.
According to CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on the whole, at this stage, we are equipped with apt knowledge of the symptoms that a patient might have.
Myths related to Coronavirus
As the coronavirus has become the main topic for discussions around the world, you need to be aware of a host of viral claims or myths that keep appearing online, here are some –
Myth number One – Holding your breath – If you can hold your breath for more than 10 seconds without any discomfort or coughing, it goes to show there is no fibrosis or scarring in the lungs and no infection. Well, in reality holding your breath is not a test for fibrosis and fibrosis is not a symptom of COVID-19. The main symptoms, don’t forget, are high fever and a persistent dry cough.
Myth number Two – Homemade hand sanitizer recipes – Beware of Internet Solutions for homemade sanitizer. Anything based on disinfectants for cleaning surfaces probably won’t be suitable for use on the skin. Some say that vodka could work, but unfortunately, it doesn’t contain enough alcohol to be effective.
Myth Number Three – The virus can survive on surfaces for up to a month – This is highly unlikely. Take research and other strains of corona virus like SARS or MERS, it shows that viruses can remain infectious on hard surfaces like metal glass or plastic for about two hours up to a maximum of nine days. However, the risk of contamination is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.
Myth number Four – Cow urine – Some Hindu groups in India believe cow urine has medicinal properties and can ward off coronavirus and other diseases. Not so, say the experts. Cow urine doesn’t cure things like cancer and there’s no evidence at all that it can prevent COVID-19. So, you’re better off simply washing your hands.
Key Messages and Actions for Covid-19 Prevention and Control
Yes, the situation is critical, but you don’t need to be panic. Here are the steps you must follow to lower your risk of getting sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can also use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and others. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you’re sick, get medical care. If you have severe symptoms please call for medical assistance immediately.
- You should cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Wear a face mask if you’re sick and around other people or if you need to take care of someone who is sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for more serious illness from COVID-19. This group should immediately consult with their health care provider.
Keep a check on the symptoms of COVID-19 & track COVID-19 cases around you and everywhere in real-time with Corona Warriors. Avoid any ignorant behavior towards the pandemic, if you have the above-mentioned symptoms, make sure you see your physician right away.